Village of Varenna
The Village of Varenna is divided into a grid of streets that steeply slope down towards Lake Como.
Via IV Novembre, 7, Varenna (LC)
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The Village of Varenna is divided into a grid of streets that steeply slope down towards Lake Como, where the houses are reflected in the water.
Of prehistoric origins (remains of the Gallo-Romans have been discovered here), Varenna achieved its communal independence in the Middle Ages. During the ten year war the village fought against Como and formed an allegiance with Comacina Island, offering shelter to the island's refugees after it was destroyed. Even then, Varenna was famous for its black and white marble.
The Parish Church of San Giorgio, whose façade is adorned with a large fresco of St. Christopher, is a three-aisled basilica, consecrated in 1313. The most precious work contained therein is the Deposition from the Cross in coloured stone. Not far from the church of San Giorgio, on Via IV Novembre, you can see the entrance to the neoclassical Villa Isimbrandi, also referred to as Villa dei Cipressi (now Hotel Villa Cipressi) with a garden and terraces connected by a staircase with plants of rare beauty and important botanical species.
Slightly further ahead you will find the entrance to Villa Monastero (the Monastery Villa) a name that reflects the building's original use as a spiritual retreat for the Cistercian nuns of St. Mary Magdalene. Among the villa's sculptures, be sure to look out for the work entitled the Clemency of Titus, the last unfinished work by G.B. Comolli (1830).
For those interested in taking a side trip, visit the nearby village of Fiumelatte (river of milk), named for the white foam of the seasonal stream that flows only in the spring from a cave and spills into Lake Como a short distance ahead.